Henan floods in 2021

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Henan floods in 2021
Precipitation per hour in Zhengzhou on July 20th [mm]
Precipitation per hour in Zhengzhou
on July 20th [mm]
storm Heavy rain with subsequent floods
General weather situation Foothills Typhoon In-Fa
Beginning July 17, 2021
Climax July 20, 2021
affected areas Henan
Victim 51 (as of July 23)
Precipitation per minute, July 20, 2021, 16:00 - 17:00 [mm]
Flooding in Zhengzhou on Dihu Lake, July 20, 2021
Position map

In July 2021, severe thunderstorms occurred in the central Chinese province of Henan , which resulted in a flood disaster , in which official reports say at least 51 people were killed (as of July 23). Over 200,000 residents were evacuated as a result of the floods. Three million people were affected by the effects of the flood.


The heavy rain, attributable to the foothills of the typhoon systems “In-fa” and “Cempaka”, began on July 17th and lasted for several days. In the course of a few days between July 17 and 20, in the region around Zhengzhou, 617 mm of rain per square meter fell, which corresponds to the mean annual precipitation of 640 mm. On July 20 alone, over 200 mm fell in one hour. According to meteorologists, it was the heaviest rainfall since the Zhengzhou Weather Bureau was founded 60 years earlier. The water levels of tributaries of the Yellow River and Hai He exceeded alarm levels as a result. In China there are floods every year. However, global warming is increasingly leading to extreme storms. Rapid urbanization in China also increases the risk of flooding. Due to the increasing sealing of the surfaces, the water masses do not have sufficient possibilities to drain off during heavy rain.


The metropolis of Zhengzhou , capital of the province, was particularly affected , where the flood penetrated the city's subway system during the evening rush hour. About 1000 people were rescued from the water rising rapidly in tunnels and subway cars, but at least 12 people died in a flooded subway train. According to local authorities, the water pooled near a parking lot on subway line 5, where it broke through a retaining wall around 6 p.m. and entered the subway tunnel. The section between Shakoulu stations, where at least 5 people are believed to have died, and Haitansi were affected. Some of those trapped up to their chests in the water in the wagons made video recordings on their smartphones and sent messages for help and farewell. At around 9 p.m., rescue workers were finally able to break open the wagon roofs and rescue the trapped just before the oxygen inside ran out.

The water and electricity supply was interrupted in many places. 600 sick people had to be evacuated from the Zhengzhou University Hospital after a power failure. The rain flooded railroad lines and roads and washed away numerous cars. Traffic was largely paralyzed, and operations at the train station and airport were interrupted. There was an explosion in an aluminum alloy factory in Dengfeng at 6 a.m. when water from the nearby Ying River reportedly broke through a factory wall and mixed with high-temperature chemicals. The level of the river exceeded the highest alert level at 4 a.m. In the neighboring town of Gongyi , according to previous reports, there were 4 fatalities in the flooded streets. In Xinxiang overran several water reservoirs and affected 58 counties and 470,000 people. In the north of Zhengzhou, a famous Shaolin temple was hit by the storm, and in the west the Buddha statues in the Longmen Grottoes on the Yi River, which were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were threatened with flooding. In the south of Zhengzhou, the Guojiaju Water Reservoir broke on the morning of July 21st. Other dams belonging to the Xiaolangdi dam system near the city of Luoyang are in acute danger.

The property damage caused by the flood is estimated at 160 million euros. More than 200,000 hectares of land were flooded. The damage to agriculture from the floods runs into the millions.


Western media addressed frequently perceived inconsistencies in official reporting and the obvious intense censorship of posts in Chinese social media . The reports criticized in particular the late closure of the underground service, which did not take place until 6 p.m., hours after the first water ingress. The weather station in Zhengzhou had previously issued five consecutive red alarms due to heavy rain. According to the China Meteorological Administration , the warning should have caused authorities to suspend gatherings and shut down classes and shops. In addition, it was officially reported that the rescue work had been successfully completed, while pictures of passengers in flooded tunnels and subway trains were also posted.

More severe weather disasters in China

Severe storms were also reported from southern China , where typhoon "In-fa" caused severe weather in the provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian . In the province of Guangdong , another typhoon called "Cempaka" hit land near the city of Yangjiang with wind speeds of up to 110 kilometers per hour . In the coastal city of Zhuhai , 14 workers died when water entered the Shijingshan Tunnel. Safety problems had already arisen in the tunnel when two construction workers were killed in another part of the tunnel in March. There were also severe floods in Inner Mongolia in northern China .

Web links

Commons : Henan Flood 2021  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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